Though the prequel series never moved forward, the actor says Stranger Things was "always there — I just didn't know it."

Before Jamie Campbell Bower morphed into Vecna on Stranger Things, the actor was going to be a part of a different high-profile genre franchise.

Bower was one of the stars cast for a planned Game of Thrones spin-off at HBO, which even shot a pilot with star Naomi Watts. It seemed like this concept, set thousands of years before the flagship series, would be the first Thrones successor show. Then the project was canceled in 2019.

"Everything happens for a reason," Bower tells EW in an interview. "I don't think anything happens by chance. At the time of that spin-off not working out, of course it's sad. Of course it is."

"This was always there," he adds in reference to his Stranger Things role. "This was coming. I just didn't know."

Bower had been hired to play an undisclosed role in the Game of Thrones prequel series alongside ensemble cast members Watts, Naomi Ackie, Denise Gough, Miranda Richardson, Josh Whitehouse, Sheila Atim, Ivanno Jeremiah, Alex Sharp, and Toby Regbo.

Jamie Campbell Bower attends Netflix's "Stranger Things" Season 4 Premiere at Netflix Brooklyn on May 14, 2022 in Brooklyn, New York.
Jamie Campbell Bower has a top-secret role in 'Stranger Things' season 4.
| Credit: Arturo Holmes/WireImage

The pilot, shot in Northern Ireland in the summer of 2019, was to take place during the Age of Heroes in Westeros, which suggested the potential show would have adapted the events of The Long Night, the first war against the white walkers that led to the construction of the Wall in the North. The official logline read, "The series chronicles the world's descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. And only one thing is for sure: from the horrifying secrets of Westeros' history to the true origin of the white walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of legend… it's not the story we think we know."

Bower already had a connection to Game of Thrones. Once upon a time, he had been cast as Waymar Royce for the opening scene of the original unaired Thrones pilot.

HBO decided not to move forward with that spin-off series idea and is instead focusing on House of Dragon, a separate prequel series that will premiere this Aug. 21 and take place during the height of the Targaryen reign in Westeros.

Bower is now relishing his role in Stranger Things as Vecna, the new demo-creature who secretly has ties to the origins of the horrors in Hawkins.

"I've done things or not done things [in this industry]," he says. "I was born and now I'm here doing this. Everything I've done in my life led to this particular moment talking to you right now on this camera. That's really interesting to consider."

Stranger Things 4 is now available to stream in its entirety on Netflix.

EW's Ultimate Guide to Stranger Things is available online or wherever magazines are sold.

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Game of Thrones

HBO's epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series A Song of Ice and Fire.

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